CURT MCDOWELL: TRUE, BLUE, & VERY TABOO

Taboo
$12 general, $8 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members    |  Dec 11, 2022  |  3:30PM - 5:00PM

Melinda McDowell in person!

LA premieres of 16mm restorations from the Academy Film Archive!

McDowell’s short feature Taboo (The Single & The LP) is easily one of his most complex and fascinatingly ambitious films, as it interweaves several narrative and conceptual threads, which include board games, erotic obsessions, and an extended rumination on (and dramatization of!) some mysterious bathroom graffiti. Long thought lost, this singular, memorable film will be preceded by McDowell’s hilarious and unexpectedly tender home movie excursion A Visit to Indiana, and the surrealist and romantic fantasia True Blue & Dreamy.

Note: This program contains explicit content, including some autopsy footage.

PROGRAM:
Kathleen Trailer (alternate take) (1972) 1.5m
A Visit to Indiana (1970) 10.5m
True Blue & Dreamy (1974) 12.5m
Taboo (The Single and the LP) (1981) 53m
total = 77.5m

Featuring Melinda McDowell in person, and Los Angeles premieres of 16mm restorations from the Academy Film Archive!

A third program of Curt McDowell restorations -- featuring many of his iconic classics -- will be presented at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on Friday, December 9 at 10pm!

Dirty, playful, bawdy, freaky, raunchy, sexy, brilliant, campy, punky, puerile, gross, glamorous…there are not enough evocative adjectives to accurately encompass the innumerable pleasures of Curt McDowell’s resolutely queer and radically multi-sexual body of film work in all its florid fecundity. 

A contemporary of John Waters and the Kuchar brothers, San Francisco-based McDowell produced a stimulating body of films between the late 1960s and his death in 1987 from HIV/AIDS, drawing vividly on his obsessions with sex, pop music, performance, comedy, melodrama, and the delicious dichotomy of the gorgeous and the grotesque. Most notorious for his nearly three-hour horror/comedy/porno/melodrama/cult classic Thundercrack! (1975), McDowell also created numerous hilarious, intimate, audacious, and unexpectedly profound short films over his tragically short career. 

The Academy Film Archive has been home to Curt McDowell’s films since 2014, and since then has been actively working to restore his entire body of work.  Along with a third accompanying showcase of restorations at the Academy Museum on December 9 at 10pm, these programs of restored McDowell films will offer an extensive introduction to an artist his dear friend and frequent collaborator George Kuchar once described as “cute, controversial, and not celibate. He was a barrel of laughs and a roller coaster ride to hell and back. Life for him was a fast track to fast times that included devilish detours into forbidden erogenous zones.”

All films restored by and courtesy of the Academy Film Archive, with thanks to Melinda McDowell.  Programs and notes by Mark Toscano.